What is Sinusitis?

What is Sinusitis? - What is Sinusitis?

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding sinus infections. Since the symptoms are similar to that of the common cold, allergy attacks, or even the flu, this very common condition can certainly be mistaken for something else by those who suffer from it. Every year, 37 million Americans suffer from at least one sinus infection, or sinusitis. We’ll discuss what sinusitis is, and is not, and what can be done about it.

What is Sinusitis?

Put very simply, sinusitis is the swelling of tissue lining the sinuses. Your sinuses are normally filled with air, but infections can occur when sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid which causes bacteria, viruses, and fungi to grow. The two main types of sinusitis are acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis happens no more than three times a year, or lasts fewer than eight weeks. Episodes of acute sinusitis tend to last no longer than ten days. Chronic sinusitis occurs more frequently, more than four times per year, and symptoms can last more than 20 days.

Sinusitis can be caused by a very long list of things, but the most common causes are allergens, bacteria, fungi, pollutants, and viruses. Symptoms can include runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, fever, headache, pain or pressure around the eyes or cheekbones, postnasal drip, and bad breath, although there are many other possible symptoms. People with blockage of drainage ducts, nasal polyps, nasal mucous membrane swelling (from the common cold), or people with immune deficiencies or on medications that suppress the immune system are at greater risk of developing sinusitis.

What can be done?

While there are some home remedies for sinusitis, including inhaling steam, nasal irrigation using a neti pot, drinking plenty of water, using mentholated preparations (ie. Vick’s Vapo Rub), and taking a steamy shower, you really should see a doctor. Pain relievers, decongestants, expectorants, and cough suppressants can be used to alleviate symptoms, but many healthcare providers will prescribe a steroid or antibiotic to relieve symptoms, reduce complications, and prevent chronic sinusitis.

If you do suffer from chronic sinusitis, you may be an ideal candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty, a quick, inoffice procedure that immediately provides relief to sinus pain, pressure and sinus infections. A balloon is positioned in the sinus, inflated, deflated and removed from the patient. Call us today for more information about this amazing procedure. As always, talk with your doctor to determine the best method of treatment for you.